|India's Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar has reportedly told the country's Supreme Court in New Delhi that the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond was in fact given to Britain's Queen Victoria in 1850 by a 19th-century Sikh king, and not stolen.
"It was given voluntarily by Ranjit Singh to the British as compensation for help in the Sikh Wars. The Koh-i-Noor is not a stolen object," Kumar reportedly told the Indian Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by the non-governmental organization All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, seeking a return of the stone to India.
The judge hearing the petition, Chief Justice Thakur, reportedly stopped short of dismissing the petition, reasoning that a dismissal now would probably harm the ongoing or future efforts by the government to reclaim the diamond, reports India's The Hindu.
"If there is a legitimate claim for the diamond, will our dismissal at this stage come in your way? Because the country which holds the diamond may say your Supreme Court itself has dismissed a petition to re-claim the diamond, so why should we entertain you [the Government of India]?" Chief Justice Thakur told the Solicitor-General, as quoted by The Hindu. Over the years both the Indian and the Pakistani governments have (separately) made demands to Britain claiming that the stone should be returned to them. The 105-carat world famous diamond is currently set in the front of the crown of Britain's late Queen Mother.